High Fidelity. The story of a late 20-something music nerd who owns a record shop in New York (in the movie Chicago and in the book London) with her (or him in the book and movie) two best friends while going through the emotions of relationships, brake ups and makes up through music.
Rob the owner of Champion Vinyl in New York (in the movie Chicago and in the book London) has been heart broken. She (or he in the book and movie) has a string of bad relationships until she/he gets to the one she loves and gets engaged to. Sadly not even this relationship works and she/he spends her/his time trying to find out what is wrong with her/him and why she/he can’t stay in a relationship. So she/he tracks down her/his Top 5 Most Memorable Heart Breaks to find out what went wrong in their relationship. Along the way her/his friends that work at the record shop help her/him to sort it all out.
This story comes from the mind of Nick Hornby an author, screen writer, and producer with a fondness for music. He writes articles online about music and cares deeply about it. He even went on tour at times with the band Marah a early ’90s heavy sounding classic rock type band. Hornby would get on stage and read his essays about particular moments and performers in his own musical history that have had a particular meaning for him. Hornby also made an album with Ben Folds called Lonely Avenue in September of 2010 with Ben writing the music and Hornby writing the lyrics.
In 2020 the book/movie was turned into a Hulu series featuring Zoe Kravitz as the main character Rob, Rainbow Sun Franks as her brother Cameron, Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Cherise & David H. Holmes as Simon Rob’s best friends and employees at Championship Vinyl.
Ok so going into this I had never read the book nor watched the 2000 movie although I had heard of the movie. From what I have heard online this adaptation is far more based on the book then the movie was but still takes some things from the movie as well. The biggest difference from book to movie to series is the gender swap of the main character Rob who goes from a late 20s guy to a late 20s women. The second difference is the location. In the 1995 Nick Hornby book, Rob lives in London and owns a shop out there with it’s thriving music scene. In the 2000 version the film took place in the Chicago music scene and in the 2020 Hulu series Rob and her friends live in New York City. The next difference is Rob’s friends went from all guys to a mixed gender group and the musician that Rob ends up having a fling with goes from a women (played by Lisa Bonet) singing Peter Frampton to a Scottish rocker singing Boys II Men. Other then that the other changes to the story stem more so back to the book and updated to make it more modern for a 2020 audience.
So How Did I Feel About This Series:
So being I don’t really have a history with this story & going into this series with a blank slate I liked it. What drew me into this series in the first place was the fact that Zoe Kravitz was going to play the main character and I knew her mom Lisa was in the 2000s movie and I just love this whole family so that was a plus. I also knew this story had something to do with a record shop and late 20-somethings with a vast knowledge and love of music not unlike myself.
I love the character of Cherise she is the best! I think everyone needs a friend like her who will tell it to you straight but have your back. I also liked that as a dark skin black women Cherise got to be eclectic and different. She liked all different types of music and wants to start a very unique band. But one thing I didn’t like was the way that they didn’t take her musical ambitions seriously and made it seem for most of the season that it was just something dumb she wanted to do which would make her upset when people scoffed at it. It wasn’t until the last episode of the season when Rob bought Cherise a light blue fender guitar she didn’t know how to play to help start off her music dreams. Although as a big Michael Jackson fan I will say I didn’t like the comments she made about him when she didn’t want to sell a vinyl copy of Off the Wall to a women who wanted to buy it for her boyfriend as a birthday gift (It Was Never Comfirmed, he was seen as not guilty in court and we know homies were lying). Otherwise I love her she is amazing!
Simon was cute. I liked him and thought he was a great friend to Rob. Being that Rob and Simon dated before Simon came out as gay, Simon is able to see when Rob is going through a “mood”. I also liked that Simon, Rob and Cherise would go out to shows and to the bar together after work. I was glad Simon and the cute guy at the coffee shop got together and we got to learn about Simon’s Top Most Memorable Heart Brakes. Also Simon loves French music, Sylvester, punk music and the Pointer Sisters among other kinds and that is a plus in my book.
Cameron Rob’s brother was also a highlight. He was friends with the guy Mac Rob got engaged to and was also having a baby and a life crisis. He keeps trying to be sensitive to his sister’s feeling even though he wants to keep being friends with her ex. He also is dealing with the feelings of his life as he knew it ending once he has his baby and becomes a dad. Due to this though he is really blunt with his little sister and can sometimes come off as a jerk epesically when drunk but he does it out of love.
Then there is the guy Rob had a fling with who fell in love with her but she couldn’t commit to Clyde. Poor Clyde. He was a little nerdy but not on the cool tip like Rob and her friends but in a real nerdy way. Rob and Clyde go on a date, he spends the night says he is going to buy her breakfast but leaves to go chase his car down that was being towed. Rob thinks he ghosted her but then he comes back with breakfast later and they hang out a few times and go to shows. Clyde even drives Rob to the city to buy some rare vinyl from a rich art women (which if I was Rob I would have bought all those rare vinyls for $20 bucks that dude was a jerk) and they hang out and have a good time.
Then Clyde comes to Cameron’s last hurrah to be there for Rob when she needs him and he tells Rob he is in love with her but she can’t commit to him due to all her previous relationships messing with her emotions. She even tries to hang with him on her birthday but gets caught up in some other things that night. So when she goes to visit him to try and start over he is not having it and tells her they have about a 9% chance of a friendship/relationship whatever because she can’t get her life together. I honestly felt bad for Clyde he seemed like a cool dude who really liked Rob but she took him for granted and I’m glad he didn’t just take the bait because he loved her.
And then there is Rob. Oh Rob you are so frustrating! Rob since apparently middle school has been getting her heart broken by these partners of hers. Every time she thinks she is happy with a person they go ahead and break her heart. Now of course in a few of these relationships the other person leaves Rob for another person, coming out as gay or gets married to his middle school sweetheart but in a few of these it is all Rob and her attitude.
Her last relationship with Mac was the one that really broke her heart. She really loved Mac and was on the way to getting married to the man and they were going to move to London and everything. But last minute everything just fell apart and the whole season we as the viewers and even Rob’s brother and friends are led to believe he was the bad guy who broke up with her. And in some ways that is true he met another girl named Lily and got engaged to her and tried to move on from Rob but she just kept showing up in his life. He tried to be cool with it tried to be her friend but then on her birthday when he tries to hang with her since she wasn’t having a good time they sit on her roof eat pizza and drank beer. Then they start talking and one thing leads to another and Rob tells Mac that the night he proposed to her she slept with a random person and rightfully so Mac is pissed. But of course Rob tries at first to act like a victim just like she did for the year they were apart. Then Cameron goes off on Rob for making him lose a friend for a year under a falsehood. Also I honestly think Rob kind of deserved it when Lily comes after Rob for kissing Mac that night and just trying to ruin their engaged.
Honestly by the ending of the season Rob is left alone and lonely just like she did at the beginning of the season and honestly I feel that is right for Rob. She really needs to fix her attitude and learn to love herself more and how she treats others before being in another relationship. She also could be a better friend. I get it she does employ her friends to work at her record shop and bought Cherise a guitar she can also be so wrapped up in her own life she won’t even pay attention half the time to other things going on around her. Also this is just a casting thing for me which I did see coming honestly but I kind of wish they made Rob have two black parents and not biracial but it’s not a big deal. Anyway as far as characters go Rob is defiantly not my favorite.
Other things I like about this show are Zoe Kravitz. Like I said earlier Zoe and her whole family are some of my favorite people and I think Zoe did an incredible job playing Rob which is great but also sucks because I’m not a big fan of Rob and I started to be able to not see Zoe playing a character but Zoe as the character Rob. I liked the idea of wanting to snag a rock star and how cool that is that is and a nice fun touch among all the craziness of the other relationships on the show. I like the music which I’ll talk about later.
Of course as we know this whole book/movie/show revolves around music and pop culture. Rob owns a record shop in Brooklyn along with her friends Simon and Cherise and they are music nerds. You want it they know about it every obscure record out there and all the good stuff too. Rob also used to be a DJ at a club in town. For this version of the story Questlove drummer of the legendary Roots Crew was the lead music supervisor on the show & helped to create the music for the season along with Zoe. I love all the music they bring into this show and the episode where they teach you how to make the perfect playlist. They play and reference everything from indie to alt-rock to punk to oldies to Prince to dance music & David Bowie to Wings to hip-hop and all the obscure French hits you wanna hear. When Rob meets her first boyfriend in middle school she is listening to music and he asks her what she is listening to and she says Weezer & they end up bonding over Weezer or Frank Zappa as she was actually listening to. In the scene were Clyde and Rob have their first date Rob goes on a rant about the album Rumors by Fleetwood Mac. There is a scene where you go into the record shop and A Tribe Called Quest Electric Relaxation is playing and another scene in the first episode when we first meet Cherise when she comes into the shop and gets hyped to Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners which she put on her Monday Morning Playlist. When Rob goes to see her Scottish rocker as he is recording a track with Jack Antonoff in Electric Lady Studio and Rob is walking through the hallway (Have You Ever Been?) to Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix is playing. I also heard some Nick Drake, some David Bowie, I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles, Nothing Compares 2 You song by Sinead O’ Connor and there is even a appearance by Debbie Harry who convinces Rob to go talk to all of her exes while she listens to Heart of Glass. She also on her birthday when she is on the roof with Mac listens to the Roots, Eve & Eyrkah Badu song You Got Me. Simon and his first most memorable heart break bond over Sylvester. Over all the music picked for this show was masterfully chosen and it shows.
Rob & her friends also would play this game where they picked their Top 5 whatever like Top 5 Most Underrated. And their is a thing about the Sopranos and how great everyone thinks it is and how Rob should watch it.
Well this is my take on the show. I think it is a great show and I’ll be glad when season 2 comes along. I hope through out this show Rob actually grows and she becomes a better person and I hope Cherise gets to make her music dreams come true and maybe gets herself a bae or we go into her dating past. I also hope that in season 2 they talk a lot more about music & have more music debates.
Now Here Is the “Perfect Playlist/Mixtape”
Rules Taken from High Fidelity:
The Soundtrack to the Show:
Interviews & Articles:
Well Till Next Time…Listen to Diverse Music!